LAHORE, June 18: Incidents of smuggling between India and Pakistan have witnessed an increase in the first four months of 2013 as compared to the corresponding period of last year.
Against the 14 smugglers captured by Rangers personnel in the first four months of the year, only one smuggler was arrested in the same period of 2012.
In cases, suspected smugglers fled the scene leaving the goods, particularly Indian liquor, which was seized by the officials patrolling the border.
Official statistics available with Dawn show that Rangers personnel along Punjab border arrested 20 people and got registered 17 cases in the first four months.
The articles seized from the suspects include: 411 bottles of Indian liquor, 1.032 kilo heroin, 260 packets of cigarettes, Rs1,830, Saudi currency worth Rs2,660, six SIMs and as many cell phones, one V wireless phone, one watch, two tea packets, one pair of shoe, one torch, one shampoo, four body creams, two 44-bore riffles, one SMG, one Carbin riffle, one 30-bore pistol, three Kalashnikovs and ammunition (103 rounds and magazines).
The officials also apprehended nine illegal immigrants, including seven Bangladeshis and two Indians.
Out of the 33 arrested people along the border, 14 were released after brief interrogation, while 19 others were handed over to local police.
In 2012, Rangers got registered 11 cases from January to April in 2012, killed two smugglers in crossfire and took one smuggler into custody.
The personnel seized 260 bottles of Indian liquor, seven bottles of Pakistani liquor, 2.55kg heroin 416 packets of cigarettes, four 30-bore pistols, one bottles each of Amla oil, hair oil, skin cream, crack cell cream and two necklaces.
Similarly, Rangers seized 60.555kg heroin, 1,434 bottles of Indian liquor and 1,830 packets of cigarettes in 2012 as compared to seizer of 26.695kg heroin, 863 bottles of Indian liquor and 15 cartons of cigarettes in 2011.
However, officials arrested 21 smugglers and killed four smugglers in 2011 against 15 arrests and six killings in 2012.
As many 33 cases were got registered by Rangers in 2012 against 32 in 2011.
A source in the border guarding agency told Dawn that the trend of smuggling from Indian side into Pakistani territory had witnessed sharp increase posing a big challenge for Indian Border Security Force which had set up a fence on its territory as compared to Pakistani side.
He said the possibility could not be ruled out that some people from Indian or Pakistani side in connivance with residents along the border areas of either side were involved in smuggling.
He said Rangers’ patrolling officials tried to stop such elements in round-the-clock watch and ward.
The source said the matter of cross-border smuggling had been taken up several times with the Indian side during bi-annual meetings, but it bore no visible results so far.
A senior police officer, who got postings in Pakistani territory along the border, said the cross-border smuggling between two the hostile countries was usually a controlled phenomenon because of active vigilance from both sides.
He said police only dealt with the cases of crossfire and casualties but other law-enforcement agencies like Customs, Anti-Narcotics Force and Federal Investigation Agency acted against smugglers in recovery of items.
He said in most of the cases police identified the killed or injured smugglers as Pakistanis, adding Rangers acted within two kilometers of the zero line.